This is the life of me, here and now. Wife, Mum of two beautiful ratbags, and trying to find me in there somewhere too! Blogging the thoughts and journey through PND that has me where I am today. This is the life of my Happy (and sometimes not so happy) Mayhem..

Friday, December 31, 2010

Let your colours burst - Healing through Song

As corny as this sounds, I love to find meaning in songs to help heal. When I heard Katy Perry's Firework shortly after seeing her live mid year, I just froze. Every word, was exactly how I felt and what I needed to start finding my self again. So my feel good song of the year is by far Firework.. I am sure you have all heard it, but if not take a moment to really listen to the words (see film clip on the link below). You may just find your self in there somewhere too.

Katy Perry - Firework

The Price of Skinny

In the space of around 4 weeks in the new year, I lost a good 7kgs. I can hear soo many new mums out there muttering 'bitch' under their breath, but can I just say I would be happy to have gained the kgs if it meant skipping all the rest of the crap that came with it.

Feeling so sick from anxiety it just fell off, and it hurt, it physically hurt. My ribs would ache and my body felt generally weak. I guess I could smile a little when looking in the mirror thinking 'baby weight? What baby weight? But I was actually 7kgs below my pre-baby weight, so this was in addition to any baby weight. I was by no means feral skinny, but on friend did later tell me she thought I was looking a little sickly in the face.

I am happy these days to look in the mirror and see the little bit of podge that exists near my mid section, to see that my bum wobbles that little bit more, and my pants no longer fall off, they stay where they are meant to! I look in the mirror and remind my self of the price of skinny. A bit of 'chub' to me means a more mentally stable mind. God do I still look at the 'perfectly skinnies' and mutter under my breath.. but I am happier! So I guess if you think about it, chocolate really was a valuable friend!! I will stick with this theory..

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The artist formally known as Beck

As well as feeling totally anxious about everything and anything, I had totally lost my self. If you had asked me what I enjoyed doing, I could not give you a serious answer. I knew I wanted to do something to make me feel happy, but I had no idea where to start. All I could do is cry, and cry, and cry a little more.I had no idea who I was anymore.. very cliche, but very real. I had lost all control of how I felt, and being someone that had always had control, this scared me.

I almost felt like I wanted to rebel and do something crazy, but there was still that responsible and sensible side telling me to keep it clean, you are a mum! For months I tried things that I thought used to make me happy with no joy. The thing is I could not force my self to feel better, I just had to tread lightly and let time help. But frustrated and impatient, I just wanted to find reasons and answers so I could fix it. A part of me just wanted someone to walk through the door and fix it for me, because no matter what I did I could not fix it. After time I realised that there is no magic fix, and I understood what you hear people say, that depression is not just a feeling, but an illness.

Not so long ago I had a butterfly tattooed on my foot. Apart from just liking butterflies, this was to symbolise hope, strength and new life. This was something for me and only me. I am learning to become a little more selfish these days and trying to do things for my self that do not involve my kids. As one wise woman once told me, although I am a mum, I was Beck before I was a mum, and I still am Beck!

As we approach 2011, I approach with caution and a little anxiety, but far happier and more positive. It was this time last year my emotional train derailed, and I am very cautious to not let this happen again. Of course thinking about it with a clear mind I am in a very different situation than last year. I can now find things that make me happy. I take moments in my day to enjoy what a supportive friend referred to as 'the beautifuls'.. watching my children laugh together, or seeing them do something for the first time. These are the beautifuls. They will be ratbags, drive me insane, but just enjoying these moments can turn a crap day into a happy day, Maybe just for a moment, but this is a great improvement!

A not so Happy New Year

So approaching New Years 2010, all came crashing down. As I said if you push things aside long enough they will still find a way to burst out. I had completely burnt out and made my self quite sick in the meantime. Assuming it was just a tummy bug I spent the last few days of 2009 and the first few of 2010 in bed.. But this was not like a normal tummy bug. I felt so sick, so hot, so dizzy.. but the more I thought about all the things I needed to get done and how much the kids needed me, the worse I felt. It was like a permanent anxiety attack.

So many weeks in an out of the doctors, denial was finally pushed aside and the doctor confirmed that my PND has reared its ugly head again. This time it was far worse and I could not handle this my self. I was too afraid to leave the house by my self with my kids, but to afraid to be left alone at home with my kids.. Just thought of getting sick would bring on an anxiety attack. How would I look after my kids? Not looking at the bigger picture of course, I am sure if I was that bad someone would help.. But this is not me talking, but the PND.

So I started seeing a Therapist, who in turn recommended Anti-depressants. I was very much against this.. I did not want to take any drugs and most of all I did not want to take anything that may risk me feeling worse from the well known side effects. But my therapist said I was so deeply depressed it would be difficult to come through this on my own. By this stage I was desperate for this to be over so decided to give it a go. Looking back now I almost wish I had gone into a Mother-Baby unit for a little, as I have heard wonderful things, but I can say with hope that the hard part is behind me.

It's A Girl!!

Although I love my little man to bits, the day I found out I was having a girl I cried. For two reasons, I always wanted a little girl. My mum and I am like best friends and the chance to share that with my own daughter had me feeling like a giddy school girl. But for another reason, I did not want to have any more kids! The thought of facing PND again was not something I looked forward to, but we always knew their would be a baby number 2 so I had to take that chance.. If this baby was a boy I would very much want to go back again and I was just not sure I could handle it. Knowing she was a girl was a huge weight lifted. Or course top priority was to have happy healthy children, but that goes without saying..

Unlike the breeze that was my first pregnancy, this one was very uncomfortable, I constantly felt sick, and looking back I am pretty sure I was on a roller coaster of mild depression throughout the 9 months. Told that my little princess would grace her presence at least two weeks prior to her due date, I was in a right mood come days after my due date and she was still snug inside. However she was doing well so that was the all important point. After 2.5hours of what I can only describe as 'pleasant' labour (or course it hurt like hell, but all was straight forward so there could be no complaints!).. she was here. Once again I felt that amazing feeling as she was handed to me.. I have no words to describe this feeling, but I am sure many mums understand. It was love.. but after a few months this really turned to resentment.

I did not resent her to the point that I rejected her, in fact the opposite, I could not pry my self away from her in most cases. But like my son she enjoyed her 'crying time' until around 11pm each night for the first 2 months. Breastfeeding was very painful and difficult, but I soldiered on for 2 months.. after that I just said fuck it, why would anyone in their right mind be putting them self through this so many times a day when it was just making us both so miserable. I am all for Breast is Best, but only when it is really working for both mum and bubs. At what point in Breast Best when the baby is screaming and the mum is depressed?! This was one difficulty I could control, so I did.

Approaching Christmas it was all becoming too much, but that D word was in full swing.. I was in total denial thinking I had everything in control. After all, what mum is not tired and rundown within the first few months of having a baby. I am mum, a super woman, I can do it all.. right? Right?? I don't know why mums expect so much from them selves, but they do...

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

It takes a village to raise a child

I could not understand how someone who could want this so very much could be such a mess. I am sure half of this was my own doing. I was so very stubborn and would not ask for help. Deep inside I am sure I was hoping someone would walk through the front door and help. But this was my doing, I wanted a baby so any problems that came with having this baby were mine.. no one else asked for this so why was it their responsibility to help pick up the pieces. Yes you can see how stupid and stubborn this sounds, but this is what my mind tells me.. 

But earlier this year my shrink told me something that even now I am still trying to drill into my head. It takes a village to raise a child. And she is right.. Children are like little sponges that pick up everything around them, and learning from many people will enrich their lives and open their minds. I have this guilt that I seem to carry around unknowingly where I feel guilty for almost everything that anyone does for my kids. Palming the kids off to let someone else look after them eats at me and I feel it is so very wrong, As mentioned they are my responsibility and I hate to think I am putting other out. But looking from the other side, who is to say that other people don't enjoy my kids and want spend time with them? In this case am I really putting people out? 

Today I asked my now nearly 3yo lil man 'would you like to come shopping with mummy, or go to nan and pa's'. Of course he wants to go to nan and pa's where he can play. What toddler wants to be confined to a trolley and dragged through the shops.. keeping in mind that this will be equally torturous for mum as said toddler pulls everything off the shelves, screams and squeals at the top of his lungs, and throws tantrums because he wants a donut NOW! But getting back to my point, when asked if I need him looked after that afternoon when I shop, the guilt sets in.. I am his mum, he is my responsibility, I should have to deal with him good, bad and otherwise. When you think about it I am just making life harder for myself, as well as all the other shoppers who get to feel the wrath of this lovely little darling throughout the shopping centre. So this is where I should graciously accept the offer from my 'Village' and let them take him! 

Am I the only crazy one who holds such silly guilt which I can't seem to shake!


So, 'It won't happen to me'? I am here to say that it CAN happen to anyone. I read a saying not that long ago that Depression was not a sign of weakness, but a sign that you have been too strong for too long, or words to that effect. I could not agree more. As a mum you think you need to do it all, know it all, and be good at it all! So you put your worries aside, hold your head up high and solider on. The problem with this is that they catch up with you eventually and you start to burst at the seams.

Once my little man was about 6 months, I started to burst at the seams. I remember one day my parents were coming to collect him to have him for the weekend. In my mind I was screaming 'please just take him away', but on the outside as normal that forced smile kissed him goodbye like all was well. I spent the rest of the afternoon lying on my bed crying. What sort of mum begs people to take their child away? Over two years later I can say with certainty that MANY mums on the inside are begging for their child to be taken away.. not forever, but just long enough so their head does not explode.

It was only after this afternoon that I knew there was something very wrong. This time round the PND was mild.. although I would not say it was at the time, compared to what I was dished after baby number two, this was mild! All I needed was some good support and helpful advice (and a holiday of course) and I was on the mend. So much so, we decided little Lachie needed a baby brother or sister. By the time he was 10mths old I was pregnant with number 2! Never do I regret this decision as it has given me my beautiful baby girl, however in hindsight I was not mentally strong enough to take on 2 kids.. at the time I thought I was, but it is always hindsight that bites you in the bum.

It was Baby Time!!

So 2007 was the year, time to make a baby!!! Everything worked out perfect, we went on holiday and started trying after we got back. A month later I was so damn excited to take that test I was up at 5:30am and could not sleep after seeing those two little lines... That explained why I was so very tired, and funny enough I have been just as tired every since! 

The perfect pregnancy.. I finished up work 3 weeks before I was due, was even at the gym that afternoon.. Midnight the following day my waters broke! And 5.5hrs later our lil man was bought into the world. It was the most surreal moment and I can still remember that exact feeling when they popped him on my chest and he just looked up at me. I had become a mum. 

I hear so often that PND can often stem from a traumatic or long labour.. in my case it could not be further from the truth, no drugs or intervention and relatively quick for a first birth. So in my search to find answers I did not find any here. Our lil man was in the NICU for the first 5 days and it was a horrible feeling leaving the hospital with flowers but no baby. But after some much needed rest I could clearly see that was the best place for him. 

The first three weeks were pure newborn baby bliss.. Despite being exhausted as all new parents are, this little child was just so amazing and easy going. But then the devil inside awoke and my little angel disappeared. He screamed endlessly. We held, rocked, walked, fed, bathed, sang, cried.. pick a task and we tried. I even remember walking him around our court at 11pm many nights, but as soon as we approached the front door the screaming would start. Called the 'crying time' or better known to parents as the witching hour, we were told it will pass. And it did, at about midnight every night, and started again the next day. I had no idea what was going on, I was a new mum. Look on the TV and a beautiful little baby will calm down as soon as their mummy holds them.. reality will paint a different picture! So after much grief and doctors visits later we were told he had silent reflux. Something of a discomfort to an Adult, but closer to a nightmare for a baby. 

So for the next 5 or so months we jammed medication into him 4 times a day. It helped. But I think it also made him generally unsettled and cranky. I remember one night just sitting on the bed howling.. not crying, howling. My husband said he had never seen me cry this way. This may have been the start of 'something more than baby blues' but no one saw the signs and we all would like to think 'it won't happen to me'... Unfortunately as strong as I thought I was, eventually it did happen...

Monday, December 27, 2010

Where it all started..

Prior to having kids, I would like to think of my self as a happy, easy going but well organised person. Boy did I love to be organised. The idea of having an event, holiday, party etc would get me excited just at the thought of all the aspects that I could organise. To the extent of having excel spreadsheets for numerous events such as my wedding, NZ Holiday, even the budgets for numerous items when I moved out of home (I did not want to be caught out!) Not quite as bad as Monica from Friends, but you get the idea. Some would say this is just common sense, to others this is anal and over the top. I have my dad to thank for these traits.. he too diarises all the big plans, writes the date, price and place of purchase (or who gave as a gift) on the inside of books, maps and alike items. But I love it and can see my self becoming this person. 

The unexpected is not something I would welcome, but always liked to have a plan for the worst case scenario. And I think that these traits is part of what made my life more difficult in the first few years of my children's lives. I mean, who can really be that organised and plan everything down to the letter with little kids? We know that they are going to spill juice on their clean shirt that was picked out and set aside weeks ago just as you walk out for an important family event. Or as you are at the checkout with a thousand and one people waiting impatiently behind you, you know that is when they will choose to throw the tantrum of the century and cling on to the nearest grounded item so you can not drag them away. That's life! That's kids! Little did I know that difficult babies and their unpredictable behaviour is what sent my subconscious mind into melt down and knocked my well organised and mentally stable mind for 6 when it really hit in.

Where to start...

Well I guess to start with a little on me, I almost feel like I should be starting with Dear Diary. Ok Beck.. 26 Years old, married for nearly 5 years and have two beautiful kiddlets, Lachie almost 3yo and Mikayla-Jane 14mth old. I am pretty much living the basic elements of my childhood dream.. married, two kids (a boy and a girl of course) and a house with a picket fence.

All I ever wanted was to be a mum. I am sure this was the case since I was born. You are always told that being a mum is hard, kids are hard.. life's hard! Of course I am not totally naive, I knew being a mum would be hard.. but never did I realise the ups and downs that really come with having children...

I can definitely say that nothing makes me smile as much as the beautiful moments we have with our kids and almost feel sorry for those that don't want kids as they will never have these moments. But I just can't help but look back over the past 3 years and remember so many times that it was not all smiles and laughs.. infact a lot of it was tears and heartache.. But I think we are approaching happier times (I remain hopeful!)